Friday, May 14, 2010

Sculling brace

One of my favorite strokes is the sculling brace. Similar to the low brace which we discussed very early on, the sculling brace can be used as a traditional static brace, or it can be employed in what I like to call 'station keeping' and by that I mean, when I am sitting in one place, and have to stay in one place I will scull. I generally perform it with an edge, though you don't have to, and it is really quite simple.

With the paddle turned power face down, slide the paddle back and forth in an arc like you were spreading peanut butter. You need to angle the blade so that it is angled up against the flow of water. If it is angled down, it - and you - will submerge. So at the end of each arc the blade switches position. You can do this with as little or as much edge as you like. It will hold your boat in position when subjected to wind. It is also a good way to get comfortable with how high you can edge your boat. Make sure you keep it moving, as the moment you stop, if on edge, you will drop.

Greenland paddlers - which I am not - will use this with their torso in the water, using the brace to hold their head right at water level. You can use it as a pause in your roll, or to hold yourself in a good position waiting to roll.

I control the majority of the movement with my hand closest to the boat, as it feels most comfortable to me, though a fair amount of the literature on the subject states to use the hand closest to the water. That just doesn't feel natural to me. Proof that there is room for interpretation in everything we do.

In the video I do a sculling brace, then a sculling brace transitioning into a sculling draw and back, then a sculling brace while I talk to another paddler - the station keeping method. Play with this, practice this, it will give you a good feel for the stability of your boat, as well as the stability of your edge.

skulling brace from Paddling Otaku on Vimeo.


  1. PO, I am a rather average sculler and I keep on being told that I should rotate more my torso rather than move my shoulders/arms to perform a good sculling brace.
    In your video you seem to have a similar technique to mine... it proves that maybe there is more than one way to skin a cat? :-)

  2. Interesting Gnarly, I have never been told to rotate more when I skull. So that may be 'instructors preference'. I think it would be hard to hold an edge as I am AND rotate instead of using arms movements. Interesting point, I will have to try it with rotation and see how it works.